Select Committee on Trade and Industry Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 3


  In its support for the science base the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) provides significant underpinning support for aerospace research and technology demonstration activities. Currently, the Council is committed to expenditure of £42 million over a three-year period in 200 projects. EPSRC support underpins the UK's nationally integrated aerospace research and technology demonstration effort. The funding is focused and has contributed to the importance and effectiveness of core technology capabilities at selective universities; 65 per cent of the £42 million support is in 10 universities and one-third is at just three. In this way, centres of expertise in specific aerospace technologies have been nurtured.

  EPSRC and the DTI, via the CARAD programme, also collaborate in supporting aerospace projects. Currently, the joint EPSRC/DTI "Flight Deck Information Technology for Enhanced Safety" (FDTES) initiative is appraising bids from industry for support from CARAD and for academia from EPSRC funding. FDTES is aimed at improving flight safety and integrates the UK's science base and industrial capabilities.

  EPSRC also supports Defence and Aerospace Research Partnerships (DARPs), an initiative which evolved from the work of the Defence Aerospace and Systems Foresight Panel. DARPs aim to establish long-term partnerships between industry and academic centres for work on priority research topics to be led by industry but carried out at universities. A further three DARPs were recently validated taking the total number to 11. Partnerships in the existing eight DARPs are generally proceeding satisfactorily but work is being undertaken to ensure there is a clear definition of the added value of establishing and operating them.

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